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Top 10 countdown: West Salem’s Jack Gorniak drafted by NHL, opts for Badgers | Sports

Jack Gorniak was riding high this spring when he was the catalyst to the West Salem/Bangor high school boys hockey team’s run to the WIAA state tournament.

He parlayed his extremely successful high school career — one in which he scored 108 goals and tallied 146 assists, including 31 goals and 30 assists his senior year — and good runs with Team Wisconsin into a scholarship offer from the Wisconsin Badgers. He signed his letter of intent in April, forgoing the oft-traveled junior hockey route and moving straight to NCAA Division I play.

WEST SALEM — Mike and Sara Gorniak saw it — actually, read it — at a very young age. Both of…

Then, the West Salem native made local history and became the first Coulee Region player to be drafted by the NHL when the Montreal Canadiens took him with the 123rd overall pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft. Gorniak being a fourth-round pick was good for the No. 4 spot in the Tribune sports staff’s countdown of the top local stories of the year.

DALLAS — The Montreal Canadiens made West Salem High School graduate Jack Gorniak their four…

Gorniak — a speedster who’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 177 pounds — impressed NHL scouts with his physical testing at scouting combine events. But he put off his pro career to play for the Badgers, something he told his parents in the third grade that he’d accomplish. He has two goals and three assists for Wisconsin (8-7-3, 4-3-3 Big Ten) this season.

The Canadiens retain Gorniak’s draft rights until 30 days after he leaves college, per NHL rules.

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